We’ve been arguing about whether or not it makes sense to have a smartphone with all the trimmings and also own a tablet. The result will always remain a bit ambiguous and inconclusive. But allow me to present another argument where the mobile phone is once again caught in the bull’s eye – does it make sense to own a mobile phone, be it a super high-end smartphone, an ultra budget Dual SIM device or anything in-between and also carry around a PMP (Personal Media Player) for entertainment purposes?

The way I see it, the PMP is slowly becoming a redundant genre of technology. It’s not like companies like Cowon or Apple will ever stop building the devices, nor do I expect them to but I know I wouldn’t shell out good money on a smartphone and then spend close to the same amount on an additional device that can now do pretty much as much as my mobile except make calls or send messages.

iPhone, the future PMP

iPhone, the future PMP

Arguments for and against PMPs are quite a few. For starters, a dedicated media device ensures that you always have enough battery life in your mobile phone for when you need it and your phone then becomes your secondary media device. It’s a good way to stay clutter free. On the other hand, imagine you own a PMP, a Tablet and a smartphone. It can become a bit cumbersome to be carrying around so many devices and I know it’d freak me out worrying about misplacing any of them. Here’s where the budget MP3 player comes into play. A device that handles no more than just your music files with a long enough battery life to go for days and keeping your handset free of clutter and unnecessary consuming space on your memory card. Once again, it’ll save your battery life.

That all being said, I’m not a fan of the separate device scenario. For me, integration is a key factor. A single device that offers me total media functionality from movies to music and a good camera negating the need for a digicam is what I consider a holistic device. What’s the point of even having an MP3 player if my mobile handset offers me quality audio with better functionality as compared to a small USB device?

With mobile devices that now offer Dolby mobile Engines built in to enhance audio quality and even features like virtual 5.1 surround audio, it’s only the devices like the Cowon PMPs that are designed to offer audiophiles a truly unique experience. When it comes to the iPod Touch (4th gen), if I were an Apple fan, I’d much rather save up for the upcoming iPhone 4 that offers all the functionality of the iPod Touch and more. The same would go for any Android based PMP. High end mobiles and even some mid range handsets also offer a wide range of codec support for videos including DivX and XviD completely doing away with the need for using conversion software. Some of these devices even offer HDMI or standard composite video out capabilities that will allow you to watch videos on an HDTV. Let’s not forget DLNA compliance for wireless streaming, a feature that hasn’t quite made it big in the PMP division.

Sure I understand the need for having segregated devices, each having a specific use but tell me honestly, how many people you know who’d prefer to buy a really cheap mobile handset that offers limited functionality and then splurge on a PMP that offers it all minus the phone. In this day and age we’re constantly looking for mobiles that offer more than just a medium of text/voice communication. It’s all about social networking on the fly or capturing significant or insignificant moments in life and uploading them for the world to see.

At the end of the day though, it’s to each his own. But seeing as how the PMP market has been a for quite awhile, I’m tempted to believe that mobile phone is the true winner here. One day I’m sure the mobile handset will offer any and all types of functionality with a sustainable battery life that will completely overshadow the need for a PMP, that day is fast approaching. But for the record, devices like the iPod Touch or Cowon D3 might still be able to squeeze in through the cracks and make a little niche for themselves in the mobile personal entertainment section.

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